Part VIII: Marian
After a while there was a gentle series of knock at my door.
“Yeah?” I asked, taking my face out of the pillow.
“Hey, it’s me. Your dad let me in.” Marian said. “Sorry for not texting, my phone’s battery died.”
“Can I come in?”
The door opened and she slipped through. Unlike me, she looked good; yoga pants, a loose tank top and a rugged denim jacket along with a beanie holding her hair, she’d let it grow in the past few months, now reaching her chin. Marian always looked good, but if she didn’t I never would’ve copied her style when we’d met. She’d introduced me to the tomboy/butch thing and I had never looked back on baby Charlie’s nonexistent style.
“Oh my god, are you alright, have you been crying?” She asked, rushing to my side and wrapping her arms around me.
“Sorry, I’m fine it’s—”
“You’re not fine, I can see that.”
“We’re supposed to be hanging out today…” I muttered. “Not to deal with my drama.”
“Charlie, I’m here to be your friend, and that means through thick and thin.”
I nodded. She was right. I let out a sigh. “Caroline and I had an argument.”
“You…” I looked away. There was a quiet moment where I just wanted to run away but Marian’s hand settled on top of mine. “I never told her about you before yesterday and she thought that meant something about us, but I was just too scared of telling her how awful a friend I’d been to you and how I just abandoned you the moment my head got screwed…”
“I’m sure it’s going to be okay. You love each other, you can and will work it out.” She hugged me again and we stayed like that for a moment.
“Alright, enough gloom, let’s go have some fun.” She said with a smile. “Dwelling on it won’t help.”
“What do you want to do, anywhere you want to go?”
“I thought we’d just chill here.”
“Really? Out of all the things we could do?”
“Charlie, your house is the best place on the whole island; you have all the games ever, a skatepark, a private pool— I could go on listing all the things but we’d be here until nightfall.”
She hopped to the couch in my room and slinked down on it grabbing a controller. She booted off my gaming rig and I joined her. As we did, Marian happily sang off key to the Taylor swift playlist she had put. Where I was big into indie rock, she was a pop head through and through, she and Caroline would definitely get along if their music choice was an indication. She was so bubbly and carefree I had to join her singing effort, adding to the cacophony but we didn’t mind, putting down the controllers and just dancing. By the time the list of song was over, we were laughing out loud, sprawled on the floor.
“You have no idea how much I’ve missed hanging out with you.” She said a little out of breath.
“Me too.” I grinned.
We sat up on the floor, our backs against the base of my bed. She huddled closer and put her head on my shoulder. We just stayed on the ground for a moment, catching our breath.
“So with all my drama, I didn’t ask; how have you been?”
“Other than my best friend being gone? Alright, been kind of routine. I didn’t show you my new little cavies did I?” She answered.
I shook my head and she took out her phone. She lit it up and the ‘low battery’ alert came up. She quickly flipped through her photos and came upon pictures of two adorable Guinea pigs; one black and one blonde.
“Here are Amalia and Rosalie.” She said a grin on her face. “They’re the cutest girls ever.”
“I can see that.”
“Good, he’s living with me at Ravenhold now though.”
She nodded and she bit her lip, as if thinking deeply. “So… I know she’s kind of a sore subject right now, but is there anyway I can get all the juicy details on the girl of your dreams?” She asked with a grin.
I smiled at her curiosity. I told her everything; how we’d met, how I’d hopelessly crushed on her from day one, our first kiss.
“Finally!” Marian said. “After all these years of nudging you about crushes I got you talking.” She stuck out her tongue at me.
“From today, I promise you; no more secrets, no more lies.”
“Ooh, what dark and dastardly secrets have you been keeping from me?”
“Well, for starters I’m the one who stole the last piece of cake on your last birthday even though you had dibs’ed it.”
“You bastard!” She said, playfully before punching my arm. “So that’s why you bought me more cake the next day?”
“I was totally feeling guilty.” I said with a laugh. “So, have you met someone you like?”
She was quiet for a second. “There’s someone I’ve had my eyes on for a while…” She looked down.
“That someone’s already taken.”
“Oh.” I wrapped my arms around her shoulders. “Sorry to hear that. But you know, maybe you’ll get your chance with him.”
“Right… I just wish I’d opened up sooner, if I had I might have had a chance. Plus, I really don’t want to be the type to wish for someone’s relationship to fail just for my sake.”
“Gah!” She said, getting up suddenly. “Now I’m the gloomy one. Come on, we’re going out and getting some exercise. Nothing better to get our heads clear.”
“Can’t argue with you on that.”
I changed out of my pajama and into yoga pants, a tee and my windbreaker. We then went down into the garage where I kept my skateboard collection along with my dirt bike and scooter. We grabbed some gears before hitting the ramp just outside. We spent the morning alternating between different activities; skating, parkour, archery and so many more.
We were eating lunch, having gotten sandwiches delivered from a café in town, when the estate’s gate opened and Caroline’s family came back, driving in with her mom’s SUV. They got out and Caroline spotted us, coming toward us rather than the house.
“Hey again.” I nervously said with a wave.
“Hey Charlie.” She said, biting her lip. “Marian.” She nodded at her. “Would you mind if I talk to Charlie?”
“Okie-dokie.” She said getting up. She slid down the ramp on her skateboard and then started going for the house. “Imma go raid your snack collection!” She then said at me. “Same hiding place?”
“Yes.” I answered.
As Marian went Caroline came up and sat down next to me on the edge of the skateboard half-pipe ramp’s edge.
“I’m sorry.” She said quietly. “I should’ve had more faith and not rushed you like that about Marian.”
“And I’m sorry for getting defensive.” I answered. “If I hadn’t we probably wouldn’t have had this dumb argument.”
She opened her arms and I accepted the hug.
“I love you.” I said.
“I love you too. Water under the bridge?”
“Water under the bridge.” I confirmed.
“Why don’t you properly introduce me to your best friend then? We didn’t really have the chance last night.”
I smiled. She took my hand and together we went back into the house.